September 21st – Covid 19 Restrictions and Crew Changes in Argentina

September 16th 2021

Covid 19 Restrictions and Crew Changes in Argentina

In view of the ongoing developing situation and different communications and instructions being issued by Sanitary Authorities of the Argentine Government we have chosen to send a consolidated daily report at the closing of working hours with an update of the day’s news.

ANTARES: We attach to this News a flyer with the full detail of all our staff for your ready reference. Both for our office in Buenos Aires and for San Lorenzo (Upriver).

River Parana Dredging and buoying: Today, September 21st, the formal announcement was made that a contract has been signed with Jan de Nul to perform dredging maintenance for the coming 90 days. In the meantime a contract is being prepared to tender for a one year contract to maintain dredging on the River Parana and the River Plate. During this further period a long term tender will be called to new specifications and a longer contract similar to the one awarded to Hidrovia SA (Jan de Nul and local partner) in the mid 90s. Tolls on the River Paraná are now collected directly by the Government through the former Ports Administration.

Covid 19 Restrictions and Crew Changes in Argentina: Today the Government has lifted many of the day-to-day restrictions imposed due to the Covid pandemic. In a short period, as from early October, the borders are to be opened firstly to neighboring countries and then later to all countries so that the tourist industry can resume activities. It is to be expected that these changes will also allow the resumption of crew changes, with certain limitations at first.

Bahia Blanca – Tug service: Tug boats are now working for 12 hours per day, every day. The 12 hour work period will be counted as from the first service of the day. After this period is finished there will be no further services during the next 12 hours. Necochea has been applying this procedure for the last few years. This is due to a wage dispute between crews and tug boat owners.

Necochea – Quarantine period: Sanitary Authorities have allowed the quarantine period for vessels calling at Necochea to be reduced to 7 days ONLY in the case when vessels are coming from a previous port in Argentina with Free Practique. Otherwise a period of 14 days remains in force. The 14 or 7 day period is to be counted as from the date of departure from the last foreign port of call. In case the 7 day period is to be invoked the vessel must produce negative Covid tests on all crew. Tests are to be taken upon arrival at Necochea.

Maize – Brazilian Imports: Brazil has a major shortfall in it’s maize harvest of the “safrinha” in the southern states (Rio Grande do Sul, Parana and Santa Catarina). This shortfall is expected to be in the order of 14 million tons and will have to be covered by imports from Northern states and also from Argentina. The “safrinha” failed due to the drought that has the added knock-on effect of limiting the water flow in the River Parana. Some of the shipments have already commenced from Argentina’s Upriver ports. We wish to remind all carriers that wish to participate in this trade that shipments between Argentina and Brazil require flag coverage until February 05th, 2022.

San Pedro: The port administration of San Pedro has agreed with all port and riverway authorities to offer their roads for anchorage to Owners. Less expensive than Villa Constitucion, the cost is per day USD 0.25 per ship’s Net Tonnage Register per each Calendar Day plus custom house overtime at all times while anchored. This anchorage is located at Km 273 to 274 left Margin of Parana River, space for six vessels (max loa 225m – greater loa will need special authorization). Suitable for: Waiting layup, hold and tank cleaning, Supplies, etc. The only operations not allowed are those that may cause spillage or pollution, like transshipment or bunkering.

LNG Carriers: Delays are occurring when LNG vessels navigate between Escobar and Recalada. These vessels are given priority and vessels navigating in the opposite direction can be delayed for up to six hours.

Asian Gypsy Moth Inspections in Argentina: The inspections are being performed by SENASA (National Animal and Vegetable Health Service) at about one third of vessels having called agm-listed ports, performed alongside, in daylight and without delaying operations.

Scrubbers. The restriction to use open-loop scrubbers was regulated/prohibited on Aug 2020 (Disp 15/2020), but shortly afterward the application of this regulation was ‘suspended’ by the authority (Disp 20/2020). Therefore, at present time no specific regulation/restriction applies regarding the use of scrubbers in Argentina waterways, at least, until further notice. Besides scrubbers, any other wash water discharge is strictly forbidden in riverway and seaports and to be carried out as per MARPOL Annex V.

Crew changes made at previous port/s 14 days prior arrival in Argentine ports: Besides many other documents and certificates, these below are of special concern:

-Owner’s Crew changes protocol at foreign countries].

-Owner’s note (with signature and stamp of the Captain and Owners company) clarifying that the crew change was carried out taking all due precautions, etc.

-Medical certificate issued by certified professional in the country where the crew joined, not the country of origin.

-Covid test, PCR, for on-signers at port of boarding (not country of origin).

Lacking any above (besides all usual documents) ship will not be allowed to take pilot until 14 days transpire since the last crew signed on board.

Crew Changes in Neighbor countries:

Crew changes Uruguay: On and Off signing crew are allowed entry into the country under very strict restrictions. On-signers must have a prior negative Covid 19 test 72 hours prior to being allowed entry. Crew members boarding are not allowed to stop at any stage between landing at the airport (Montevideo) and boarding the vessel. Once onboard the vessel they must comply with a 14-day quarantine onboard before being allowed to work. Departing crew must proceed directly from the vessel to the airport. Considering that there are now few international flights these requirements make it very difficult for crew members to enter or leave the country. Additionally, to this before a boarding crew member is allowed permit of entry the agreement of Sanitary Authority, Immigration and Coastguard must be obtained. The best way of achieving a successful crew change at Uruguay is to have the vessel do this OUTBOUND at Recalada/Montevideo anchorage when the vessel’s schedule is not bound so much by weather and port congestions.

Crew changes Chile:Chilean colleagues have supplied us with the following detail to proceed for crew changes in Chile:

Kindly note a protocol has been issued to allow crew changes while our borders are still closed for non-Chilean citizens, here you will find requiring points to be complied with:

OFF SIGNERS Authorities are allowing for crew members to disembark and take their flights from Chile to their final destinations with following conditions:

• Providing all information about the intended disembarking to the Health, Maritime, Migration Authorities via Agency at least 72 hours in advance including names, citizenship, passport number, name of vessel, and full repatriation flight schedule (attached file with data requested).

• Completing a 14 days quarantine period on board in good health condition since the vessel sailed from the last foreign port prior to disembarking in Chile.

• Submitting the on-line affidavit for travelers to prevent Coronavirus diseases (attached).

• Not presenting any symptoms of COVID19 (Health Service may order a health check at any time)

• Moving directly from the disembarking port to the airport or designated sanitary residence (in case 14 days of quarantine not completed). Max. period permitted in the hotel is 5 days.

• Wearing personal health protection items such as face mask, face shield, gloves and hand sanitizer while in our country.

ON SIGNERS Before trip. We need to send to Ministry of Transport a few points (attached file with data requested).

Once received and double checked, they will send the approval to Consulate where joiner will come from.

The crew member must going personally to the respective Consulate, for taking a picture, fingerprint.

If all going well, the consulate will notify to Immigration, Health Service and sanitary borders, that crew member can travel and get in to Chilean territory. Along with this a safe-conduct document will be provided. This document will be mandatory and must be presented on arrival to Chile. IMPORTANT: Only crew members who do not require Chilean visa to come to Chile can apply to safe-conduct. Once arrived in Chile. At any time, must wear facial mask and carry own protective items for COVID-19 Immigration would check that all documents are in order, if so, will be provided the SHORE PASS (crew member immigration card). The Health Inspector will make an evaluation of crew health, if do not have any symptom of COVID 19, her entry will be granted. In case to have any symptom or to result positive in the preliminary Covid test, would be isolated and the entry would be denied. Transportation from International airport to the port must be exclusive. So, domestic flights are not permitted and either intercity buses service (commercial). Also important for both, on signers and off signers, is to have a tentative flight schedule (complete route), this is necessary to start formalities with authorities. We estimate about 5-7 business days to complete formalities.

Will keep you posted.

Best regards,
Antares Servicios Maritimos S.A.

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